Clips, Mavs set to tussle in L.A.

11:02 AM, Jan 15, 2014   |    comments
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( - The Los Angeles Clippers haven't missed a beat without star point guard Chris Paul and look to keep the momentum going when they close out a three-game homestand Wednesday versus the Dallas Mavericks.

Paul went down with a shoulder injury Jan. 3 in a win at Dallas and the Clippers are 3-1 since. They are 4-1 without Paul this season and 13-10 since 2011-12 when he does not play. Paul will be sidelined the next several weeks.

Darren Collison has been running the point with Paul out and is shooting 66.7 percent from the field in his last six games. The Clippers are 5-1 in that time and posted their third straight win Friday in a 123-87 demolition of the rival Los Angeles Lakers. Blake Griffin led the charge in that one with 33 points on 12-of-15 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Collison and J.J. Redick scored 20 and 19 points, respectively, while DeAndre Jordan ended with 13 points, 10 boards and seven blocks. It was the Clippers' largest victory over the Lakers in team history. Redick returned from a 21- game absence because of injury for L.A., which has seven wins this season by 20 or more points. Minnesota leads the NBA with eight.

"I was obviously out a long time, so the worry was that I would just take a little bit of time to find a rhythm; and to get into a rhythm in the first four minutes was surprising, but very nice," said Redick, who scored 10 points in the first quarter.

Collison has scored 20 points or more in three of the last five games for the Clippers, who are 10-4 since Dec. 16. Griffin is averaging 26.2 points per game in that time. Jordan has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in his last 16 games, a career high. Elton Brand did it in 17 straight games back in 2002 and Michael Cage had a 19-game run from Dec. 10, 1986 - Jan. 16, 1987.

The Clippers have won four in a row at home and sport a 17-3 ledger as the host this season. The Clippers, sitting one game ahead of Golden State for the Pacific lead, are first in the NBA in points per game as the host, averaging 110.0. They also have the second-best start after 39 games at 26-13, while the 2012-13 squad opened with a 30-9 record. The best record in franchise history after 40 games is 31-9, also held by the 2012-13 team.

After hosting Dallas, the Clippers, who are 17-7 against the West and 11-2 at home in conference play, will head east for seven games against New York, Indiana, Detroit, Charlotte, Chicago, Toronto and Milwaukee.

Dallas will play two straight and five of six games on the road, and is 9-10 outside of Big D this season.

The Mavericks have won three in a row and seven of their last 10 games, including Monday's 107-88 rout of the Orlando Magic. Monta Ellis led six Mavericks players in double figures with 21 points, Vince Carter totaled 17 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 15 and Jose Calderon had 13 points.

Jae Crowder and Wayne Ellington tallied 14 and 12 points, respectively, for the Mavericks, who shot 50.6 points per game and scored 19 points off 15 Orlando turnovers. The Mavericks, who are averaging 103.1 ppg, will now face a Clippers team posting an average of 105.3 ppg.

"I think our mindset is different heading into this game on a three-game winning streak," Ellis said of the upcoming challenge against the Clippers. "Hopefully we continue with it."

Dallas is seven games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011-12 campaign. Carter has scored 10 or more points in six straight games and Nowitzki is averaging 26.3 ppg in his last three games.

Mavs forward Shawn Marion has missed the last four games with a shoulder and rib issue, and is questionable Wednesday. Marion is averaging 11.3 points and 7.2 rebounds this season.

The Mavericks lost the first of four meetings with the Clippers, 119-112, on Jan. 3 at American Airlines Center, where Paul sustained his shoulder injury. Griffin and Jordan each scored 25 points in that one for Los Angeles, which has won five of the last seven matchups between the teams.

Dallas has lost three straight games as the visitor in this series. The Mavs and Clips will meet again March 27 and April 3.

The Sports Network

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